A float in the Aurora Farmers Fair Parade in Indiana featured a man pretending to be Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump turning on an electric chair switch to "execute" a woman dressed as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Oct. 1 (video below). The float also included an Easter Island statue painted in blackface to represent President Obama.
Penny Britton, a local mom, posted a picture of the float on Facebook and wrote this caption:
Who saw this float in the parade yesterday? Yes, that's a BLACK FACE Obama Eastern Island head. Yes, that's HILLARY CLINTON in an ELECTRIC CHAIR with the switch being thrown by DONALD TRUMP. Who thinks this is appropriate for a fair parade where CHILDREN, SOME OF THEM MINORITIES AND GIRLS, are marching and playing instruments and watching? Who thinks this is something to laugh at or be proud of? This is DISGUSTING. This makes me embarrassed to say I live here. THIS IS AURORA, INDIANA. Congratulations.
The parade was sponsored by the Aurora Lions Club, but the float itself was created by Frank Linkmeyer.
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"Could have had Donald Trump in the electric chair. It was a tossup," Linkmeyer told WCPO.
Linkmeyer, who insists that he is a Democrat, included signs promoting the Trump-Pence campaign, and another sign about Benghazi, the terrorist attack that Republicans often blame Clinton for.
Linkmeyer said he's done parodies of various people: "Police officers, judges, nurses, doctors, heart transplant patients -- just a variety of things, and the people in Aurora and the surrounding area love to see us in the parade."
Local residents were mixed on the racism and depiction of a presidential nominee being executed.
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"My initial reaction was I’m just appalled," one observer told the news station. "For us to be in 2016 and have our president depicted as an Easter Island statue in black face doesn’t even make any sense, but it’s racist as can be."
"He does something every year, whatever, Frank’s Frank," added another. "I don’t see anything wrong with it. If anybody’s offended by it, then they shouldn’t look at it."
Another resident stated: "It didn’t necessarily make sense, but I could tell that it was riddled in hate."
Linkmeyer insisted his racist death float was funny: "It’s all in fun. Laughter is the best medicine in life and this country needs more laughter, and the people that are offended by it, I’m sorry. Don’t come to the parade next time."
Aurora Mayor Donnie Hastings said that Linkmeyer’s float was "not consistent with the values of our citizens or who we want to be as a city."
The City of Aurora said in a statement that it refused to believe the float represented the Aurora Lions Club, even though the club allowed the float:
We are disappointed that the actions of a few individuals have taken the focus away from what was otherwise a very successful 108th Aurora Farmers Fair. The Aurora Lions Club is the leading charitable organization in our city. The City of Aurora refuses to believe that this particular float is in any way a reflection of the Aurora Lions Club or its members.
The Aurora Lions Club, which was initially unprepared to comment to WCPO, issued a statement hours after the city:
The parade is a public venue which does not reflect the views of the Aurora Lions Club. As a member of a worldwide service organization, we are proud and [stand by] our record of service to this community. We appreciate the high levels of support and esteem given to us by our citizens. We will continue to do our best to live up to their standards. We hope the political circus of this year’s election stays with the national media.